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November 1991

Special issue on Yogic Management of Stress - Contd.

Laugher

The Non-specific Tension

Children under Stress

The Real Nature of our Body

Tuning Body and Mind

Asanas and Stress

Pranayama and Stress

Meditation and Stress

Yoga Nidra and Stress

Karma Yoga and Stress



The Non-Specific Tension

A person who is constantly on the lookout for relaxation from a real or imaginary life full of tension, has a significant degree of what is called non-specific tension or NST. The major part of tension displayed by a person under NST may, however, be totally unrelated to his job or work on hand. The cause is as likely to be due to his own lack of flexibility in response to situations, ultimately leading to chronic NST.

A person with chronic NST tends to be rigid in his attitude, making him stereotype in action. Due to a lack of flexibility in shifting levels and patterns of tension, such a person is incapable of producing a high level of performance. Rigidity in outlook, in action and in thinking, creates a barrier to fast and subtle levels of communications with others. The person under NST is incapable of understanding the other person's construct system, and therefore, fails to establish a sensitive communications 'path'; subtleties and nuances, which can be the essence in certain levels of communications, get totally lost.

The rigidity brought about by NST also affects other activities where an open mind and a flexible attitude are an advantage. The NST person finds his development gets progressively restricted. As he avoids tension situations, his role playing dwindles and the opportunity for developing new skills also dwindles. NST also affects higher levels of skills, such as subtle timing, ability to co-ordinate at various levels, flexibility to take both the micro and macro view of situations... in fact, NST blunts the finer and higher executive stills.

NST affects virtually every faculty which normally should remain fine-tuned for action. Sensory processes, including visual acuity, decline; performance slows down, as a direct result of slowing of decision-making skills; irregularity in work creeps in, as more and more spontaneous pauses occur in work; and even total disorganisation at work may result.

NST makes a person touchy and extremely threat-sensitive to criticism. Even an innocent remark would invite the individual's full wrath. Other characteristics of the NST are a low self-esteem; chronic unhappiness; tendency to project personal problems on to others; decreasing capacity to learn new or complex tasks.

To the person with chronic NST, yoga opens the door to a more relaxed, alternative lifestyle. By degrees, the tension-ridden body-mind complex begins to ease up, at first only during the time of actual practice, but gradually the sense of relaxation tends to linger for longer and longer hours after the practice is over.

An increasingly stress-free body and mind complex begins to exert its influence on the emotional aspect of stress also. The same individual, who was stress-ridden and anxiety-prone round the clock, now begins to enjoy life and, what is more, finds that he is able to cope with occasional stresses as they come up.

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